Swine flu - Symptoms and prevention

  • By Team TDO

The current swine influenza A (H1N1) virus has components of pig and bird influenza viruses in it, so the humans don't have any immunity to it. This makes it more likely to become a pandemic virus (a virus that can have the ability to cause a global outbreak) if it can easily spread from person-to-person. There are antiviral medicines one can take to prevent/treat swine flu. This particular virus is resistant to the antiviral medications like amantadine (Symmetrel) and rimantadine (Flumadine) but is sensitive to oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza).


The symptoms of swine flu are very similar to the common flu that occurs in humans. The symptoms usually include fever, cold, cough, runny nose, body aches, diarrhea, vomiting, headache, etc but in swine flu the symptoms might be more severe like breathlessness, very high-grade fever, loss of appetite and fluid intake, listlessness, etc. The most important thing is to prevent the spread of this infection. Since this spreads through air, infected articles like tissue, paper, pen etc., so the preventive measures are very important.

Prevention of Swine Flu:

The following measures can be taken to prevent the spread of swine flu:

  1. One can cover his/her nose and mouth with a tissue while coughing or sneezing.
  2. One must throw the tissue in the trash after using it.
  3. One must wash hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing.
  4. One must avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth. Germs can spread this way.
  5. One must try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  6. One must stay home from work or school if sick.
  7. One must consult a doctor immediately when in doubt about the symptoms.

The most important thing to remember is that the people with swine flu are likely contagious for one day before and up to seven days after they began to get sick with swine flu symptoms. Also, anti-flu medications, including Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and Relenza (zanamivir) are available to treat swine flu. Vaccines in the form of nasal spray available in the market and approved by health authorities has found to be efficacious tool, to be used in areas affected with the outbreak. One should refer to medications and vaccine doses under strict medical supervision only.